Are you following jobs.ac.uk‘s PhD Vloggers? The most recent installment catches up with Jack Donaghy, just reaching the end of his 1st year as a PhD student in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow.
In the video, Jack discusses his recent experience of the annual review process at the University of Glasgow, and the challenges that he faced, particularly because he had changed his research topic only a short while before the review.
There were a couple of things that stood out for me from this video from a PGR development point of view. First, Jack changed his research topic because of difficulties he faced in identifying and recruiting participants for his original study (0:38). Although it’s difficult for me to give advice about developing your subject-specific research methods knowledge and skills in the context of an inter-disciplinary blog, this is obviously an area that all first year PGR must grapple with. Jack’s experience is not unusual, and re-iterates the importance of getting up to speed in this area as quickly as possible.
Secondly, Jack talks about the value of the annual review process as a development tool (8:58), and how much the process helped him to tap into expertise within his department. He (and many of his colleagues) had approached the review like an exam, but in practice it was a much more collaborative, helpful process. It really highlighted to him the value of engaging in debate and inviting challenge.
Have you found the annual progress review at UoB to be helpful? Share your experiences below.